Courtesy of the artists
Clockwise from upper left: Kishi Bashi, Simone White, Bobby Womack, Aleksa Palladino of Exitmusic, Sinead O'Connor.
This week on All Songs Considered, co-hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton are joined by NPR Music's Stephen Thompson and Ann Powers to take a step back, catch their breaths and consider the past six months of music. They share their favorite new artists, biggest surprises and favorite albums and songs from the first half of 2012. The biggest surprise of the year? Bob is into a Swedish pop song with the line, "You're from the '70s / but I'm a '90s b——."
Second to Bob's unexpected pop pick: the heated discussion of Carly Rae Jepsen's sugary song of the summer, "Call Me Maybe." This week's show features a batch of poptimistic, feel-good songs, as well as a few tracks better heard alone in a dark, quiet room. These favorite songs of the year aren't necessarily delicately crafted; particularly awesome is Japandroids' rebellious "Fire's Highway," with a shout-to-the-heavens chorus and brash guitar and drums. Bob and Robin's favorite new artist of the year so far, Kishi Bashi, uses layers and loops to create a radiant, uplifting soundscape in "Bright Whites."
Another theme of the year seemed to be artists who've been around for a while, like Sinead O'Connor and Bobby Womack, as well as triumphant comeback albums like Fiona Apple's The Idler Wheel...
You can hear the entire discussion above and check out full versions of each track discussed below.